As of November 16th 2019, the 187 regional visa will be abolished and two new visas will be introduced; the Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional Visa (subclass 494) and the Skilled Work Regional Visa (subclass 491). These new skilled regional provisional visas will be available to skilled migrants and their dependent family members who want to live and work in Australia.
These new visas are being introduced to help fill the tens of thousands of job vacancies in regional areas of Australia. It is also hoped that this will help ease population pressure on big cities while supporting the growth of smaller cities and regions.
There are a few major differences between the old visa and the new visas. These include:
- The time required to live and work in regional Australia will increase from two years to three years.
- The visa validity period will increase to five years.
- There will be an increase in the number of eligible occupations offered.
- Applications will have priority processing.
- Regional Australia will be expanded to include all areas of Australia except Metropolitan Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth.
While there are some changes, there are some aspects of these visas that will remain the same. These are:
- An age limit of 45 years still applies
- Applicants will still need to meet criteria relating to health, character, English language and skill level.
What is the Skilled Employer Regional Visa?
The Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional visa (subclass 494) is for people sponsored by an employer in regional Australia. This visa replaces the 187 and has a three-stage process. The three stages are:
- Visa Application
Employers nominating an employee must make a contribution to the Skilling Australia Fund of $3,000 for small businesses and $5,000 for large businesses. There will be 9,000 places allocated to this visa per year.
*Current Standard Business Sponsors under the TSS Visa Program can nominate visa applicants without needing to undertake the sponsorship process.
What is the Skilled Work Regional Visa?
The Skilled Work Regional Visa is for people nominated by a state, territory or government agency or sponsored by an eligible family member currently residing in a regional area. Holders of this visa will be able to live and work in regional Australia. There will be 14,000 places allocated to this visa per year.
Holders of these visas will be able to apply for permanent residency once they have satisfied the conditions of either of these provisional visas.
The introduction of these new visas will not impact holders of existing visas nor will there be an impact on the permanent residence of current permanent visa holders.
For more information about the new Regional Visas or any other aspect of migration contact the Visa Solutions Australia team. It is a complex subject so it is important to speak with someone in the know.